Open Country never let a beautiful sunny day go to waste, especially when there’s great accessible outdoor sites like Angler’s Country Park in Wakefield to cycle round on our tandems and duet wheelchair bicycles. Saturday was no exception and our team made up of Paul (Open Country), Chris (volunteer) and our members Jamie, Wayne, Adeline, Sally and Ian took the minibus over to South Yorkshire for a fun day out.
The minibus wheelchair access lift came in really handy for getting equipment in and out of the van, that’s four bikes in total borrowed from our tandem club with runs in Harrogate and Ripon, taking our members with disabilities into the countryside during the week. Adeline brought her own bike too, which we popped into the back after picking up each of our members from their homes.
A bird's nest in some discarded tyres
Riding the Trans-Pennine trail through the dappled shade of a forest was an absolute joy for our members who just loved the fresh air, sunshine and countryside all around them. Like most of our day drips for disabled people, it lasted around six hours with a lunch break and stops for sight-seeing.
People just loved our duet wheelchair bike too, stopping us to ask about it or admire Wayne sitting comfortably up front while volunteer Chris acted as his personal chauffeur all day, huffing and puffing all the way round.
We did get a tiny bit lost after taking a wrong turning on a cycle track which turned the day into a bit of an adventure. We soon found our way back though, after Sally and Ian had chance to show off their riding skills, leaving us all for dust.
One highlight of the day came when we were cycling along next to an old disused colliery railway, Paul spotted a young bird perched in an impromptu nest, sited right in the middle of an old discarded tyre in some wetland. Nature always finds a way, a bit like Open Country when we get lost.
Do you want to ride in the sunshine with us?
We’re always after new volunteers who can join in us in our mission to help people with disabilities access to the countryside. It could be something as simple as riding a tandem bicycle with one of our members or even helping maintain our modest fleet of bicycles.
If you can’t give us your time, any donation will help keep our bicycles on the road when they break down, otherwise we have to turn members away from these countryside outings that they look forward to so much.